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Tuesday, 10 September 2013

AWB abolition: doing nothing is not an option

We are fast approaching 1st October 2013, a significant date for farming businesses in England that employ agricultural workers. As from 1st October the comprehensive employment framework that has laid down minimum wages and other terms of employment in agriculture for almost 100 years falls away and leaves farming employers in a vacuum. 

Only there is not really a vacuum. There is general contract law, there is general employment law (including the minimum wage) and there is your longstanding relationship with your workers.

Given that, it would be a mistake to do nothing at all. In some cases it might land you in trouble under minimum wage legislation (the national minimum wage is set to increase from 1st October to a level which is higher than the current Grade 1 pay for ag workers over 21 years old and for some apprentices – a wages standstill is not possible). 
In all cases, you could lose the opportunity to reach agreement with your workers on wages and other terms (overtime, holidays etc.) and how they will be dealt with post AWB abolition – that also gives you a chance to minimise the differences in how old and new workers are treated.

At the very least, being a good employer means acknowledging the change and letting your staff know how it will affect them.

In other words:

doing nothing is not an option.

We know that this time of year is not a good time to be sitting in the farm office writing letters and having discussions with workers. To help you get the ball rolling, Roythornes has produced a short template letter for employers to send to their workers ahead of 1st October.

We also have a tiered advice package, offering different levels of involvement and price depending on your circumstances. Details are here, in our AWB briefing note.

If you have any questions about how AWB abolition will affect your business or you would just like us to email the template letter to you, please contact either:

Maz Dannourah, on 01733 898967 or at; or

Phil Cookson, on 01733 898970 or at